it's been over a year since this unfolding of play as a project (if you have to call it something) began in my life. and i'll talk later on how death is the springboard for this obsession with play in my life. for now, i'll dive into the obsession with play being a part of me for as long as i can remember.
but not in the traditional sense of the word, in fact i never played any sport as growing up. just played with my life.
in the beginning there was darkness
the dark side of play is where my journey begins. rebellion against the traditional structures and hierarchies of social norms was my game.
i didn't want to play within demarcated boundaries. breaking the rules was more exciting than following them. what seemed like innocent tantrums of a naughty child had the underpinnings of a raging adolescent rebellion in the making.
having spent the first 5 years under strong medication for seizures, it appears i was constantly on the lookout for a similar high after i was taken off it.
then came the drugs
got lucky soon after puberty with the accidental discovery that huffing petrol can get me high. seemed like an easy enough method, but i wanted to play with every possibility.
and before i knew it, i was like a kid in a candy store running amok, sampling every drug i could find. unlike common belief, i don't believe drugs turned me into a jerk. i've always been an extrovert, albeit abrasive and arrogant fella whose super power was a superiority complex that wouldn't be crushed.
in fact, if anything, the drugs softened me up over the years into the opposite end of the spectrum; lost and lonely, waiting for my turn to die.
at one time, i harboured the hubris that i was in control of the drugs. like a druid mixing concoctions to remedy every morbid mood, i'd play just the right doses to stay high and feel fine. but...
anything that goes up must come down, and the fall is never something you can prepare for.
dreams are drugs too
i'd covered many miles, danced across borders and dabbled in every adventure i could find, nefarious or not. the people i'd meet didn't really matter, and those that mattered i'd run away from in a heartbeat.
it didn't matter where i went, what i did or who i was with. i was on the run and i didn't know from what or whom.
the highs are no longer highs but mere sighs of relief, that i'm not suffering the withdrawals reminiscent of a reality i once inhabited. it's amazing how powerful placebo effects are & how potent perception can be against what we deem as reality.
even as this rollercoaster ride kept oscillating between peaks of incredible ecstasy and pits of morbid despair, it was all still a game for me. the game of life where the stakes were my life.
i wasn't playing to win, but to dance between victory and defeat, without falling over either edge.
the dark side is not a bad place & i still regard rock-bottom as my hometown, the place i grew up in. it's the place i came of age, as i realised that the worst outcome of a life of addiction is not the physical, mental and spiritual decay.
connection is salvation
the worst effect of addiction is the social isolation, personal paranoia, mistrust & disconnection.
like Obelix who fell into a cauldron of magic potion and it's effects lasted forever, i'm also barred from partaking of anymore magic potion.
in my case, the effects may not be permanent, but i'd still say i'm high as a fucking kite, most fucking days. when i fall, i bounce back almost immediately, thanks to a little help from my friends.
at this point it's vital to note that friends can be flora and fauna too. i've loved most of the lock down with the love and connection experienced from cats, insects, birds, trees and plants in whose company i sought refuge.
life sucks, we rock!
everyone from Buddha to Nietzsche agrees that life sucks. but of course we want life to rock! and drugs are the quickest fix available, and for the first time in human history, it's ubiquitously available.
in fact we're in a state of high calorie malnutrition, ingesting more than we can digest. and unable to absorb what we do digest. mass production and manufacturing ensures that everyone can get high with least effort in the least possible time. but we're failing as a society, not rising.
how's this related to play?
yeah, this tldr should probably have gone to the top of the post but i'm never one for protocol. because even if everything has changed since i got clean, nothing's really changed. i still want to get high and i still want life to rock. but if there's one thing i've learnt is that, i can't sustain that high with drugs alone.
that's actually two things in that statement there:
- drugs aren't enough
- neither am i
this is perhaps why community is trending. we all need to find our tribe, that shares the same vibe. and remember that connection not only brings us closer together, but also makes us feel higher.
thus i conclude that the antidote to addiction is not de-addiction, but connection.
now this is where the connection with play falls in place. for an adult, the institutions of work and marriage are the major means to engage with society at large.
but can adults still engage and relate outside of the traditional means of community, in the pure spirit of play as we did as kids?
i believe so and have embodied this philosophy as my own, in my body and mind. i'm ready to share it will all that desire. come embrace my ideology, not absorb my identity. my past brings me no regret and much joy, because who i am today is because of the path i walked, hopped, jumped, crawled and flew. if i'm uncommonly upbeat today even in the face of abject adversity, it's because as Jung aptly observed...
No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell.
now turn off your phone, go take a good hard look in the mirror and smile at yourself, lovingly 🥰 spend 10 minutes admiring yourself, your physical, mental and spiritual traits that identify you.
done? now find someone to hug 🤗 and share that love with. could be a friend, lover, family member, pet or tree. you needn't be a drug addict to feel disconnected, we're all addicted in different ways and busy chasing fame instead of truly connecting with others. but what if fun is the new fame?
remember: your happiness means everything to the world, for we are groot 🌱